DILLER, PHYLLIS (1913-2017)
American stand-up comedian, actor, author, pianist and visual artist, best known for her eccentric stage personae, self-deprecating humor, wild hair and clothes…not to mention her exaggerated, cackling laugh.
TLS – Typewritten Letter Signed, circa 1973, likely from her home in LA. Excellent content note to an admirer. Signed on an over-the-top sheet of stationery featuring a madrigal singer and lion. Reads: Your father really cares about you and your future and he has a great idea. I used to pattern my life after famous people I admired. In my case I chose Eleanor Roosevelt, Clare Booth Luce, Helen Hayes and others of similar ilk. There is no shortcut to greatness or even accomplishment. There is only one secret of how to get wherever you want to go: continuous hard work. I wish you happiness, prosperity and good health.”
Dealer’s postscript: It was my privilege to know Ms. Diller for nearly two decades. Our first encounter was a two-hour, in-person, interview in Merrillville, Indiana at Holiday Star Theatre where she was performing. Midway through our marathon chat she stopped dead in her tracks and pointed above my head. “Look!” Startled, I said, “what is it Phyllis…a spider?” Replied the comedian “No, it’s this blinding white light, what an aura.”